8.03.2008

August Birthday Block Done

And I'm glad about that!

Mariner's Compass block for Anne

It's for Anne, who is away on vacation for two weeks, so I get to enjoy it for a little while before mailing!

Anne asked for Mariner's Compasses, any size from 8" to 14". Luckily for me, this great pattern was in the magazine Lorraine sent me with my ALQS top, so I didn't have to look far for a plan. The blue is almost the end of an old favorite fabric, as is the red/white check. I used the magic teabag paper stuff again for the paper piecing; I didn't feel like messing around with trying to find a way to print on it, so I just traced the foundations. I still don't enjoy that, but there are only 12 units so it went pretty quickly. I showed it in that state a couple of weeks back.

Then, I used Sulky washaway stabilizer to make the center circle. Yes, I probably could have pieced it in properly, but that seemed like a lot of work for only a moderate payoff! I turned a nice circle and buttonhole stitched it to the "ring," then went in and removed most of the stabilizer so it would rinse out easily. That was the end of last weekend's progress -- just that small amount of time at the machine was painful.

This weekend, I'm doing slightly better, although still not great. My chiro sent me for X-rays on Friday afternoon, but no results yet. I'm pretty confident there's nothing major going on -- I think if he'd just crack my neck and upper back, I'd feel a whole heck of a lot better.

Anyway, I wanted to finish this, since I still need to quilt my mini-booty, and I'd like to get ahead on these birthday blocks if I can this summer.

Inserting the circle was a lot easier than I had expected. I cut the arc and the short sides to the correct size, but left an extra inch on the two long sides so there'd be extra to square up properly. I left it a little big so Anne could decide which finished size worked best; it could be anywhere from about 11" to 13.5".

The block is pretty good sized, so the curve was gentle enough to not be stressful. I pinnned all the way around -- I hate admitting how much that helps! -- and used my Curvemaster foot. I know, the Curvemaster is supposed to eliminate the need for pinning... and it might, but it doesn't eliminate my penchant for stretching, so this works for me. Since I always pin left-to-right, the pins don't get in the way and the shortness of the Curvemaster foot helps me sew a smoother circle. Now this is weird -- I was almost all the way around the circle when I realized I was sewing THROUGH the foot. The little bit that forms a circle around the needle had moved under the needle, and I sewed three or four stitches before I realized it. I had to break the little bit of plastic off the foot to remove the patchwork. I don't think this affects the usability of the foot, but I just remembered I forgot to take out that needle, which is undoubtedly dull now!

Anyway, I did need to trim down my finished block, but overall, I'm pretty happy with it. I'm most happy that this is the only required Mariner's Compass this year ;)

2 comments:

Gina said...

What a beautiful block. I love the Mariners compass but to be honest I don't do it as I can't be bothered with all the faffing about trying to get the circle to lie flat. I like your explanation on how to do it.

Love and hugs gina xxx

peggy said...

Anne is one lucky girl to be getting such a wonderful block....I've wanted a Mariner's Compass it seems like forever, just never get around to making one.

Peggy in NJ